Meet the 9 Ministry Women Bringing New Perspectives to Oxygen 2023 

This year at Oxygen conference we’re thrilled to have a line-up of thoughtful and practical segments and workshops, brought to you by seasoned ministry women speaking from their experiences and expertise. 

Meet the 9 ministry women who will be speaking at Oxygen this August! 

Oxygen Plenary Sessions: Lessons from Life in Ministry 

Anna Powell and Sarah Irving-Stonebraker will join the main plenary sessions to share their personal experiences, giving a short talk as part of our segment titled “Lessons from Life in Ministry”.  

Anna Powell

Anna Powell is married to Morgan and they have two delightful daughters. They served for 13 years in South America with SIM, in Ecuador and Peru. In her talk “Seeing Clearly: How our Culture Deforms our Hearts for Ministry”, Anna will share how leaving Australia helped her to see how culture can leave a “non-Biblical imprint” on our understandings of ministry.  

Sarah Irving-Stonebraker

Dr. Sarah Irving-Stonebraker is the Associate Professor of History and Western Civilisation at Australian Catholic University. She was awarded her PhD in History from Cambridge University and held then a Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford University. She will be giving a talk titled “How Historical Traditions of Spiritual Formation Can Help Us Reshape Our Hearts”.  

Eleasa Sieh

Eleasa is a Can-Aussie – a Canadian-born Chinese from Toronto and now working as a GP and GP counsellor in Brisbane. She is passionate about discipleship and Biblical counselling, having just finished the online MAC program through Westminster Theological Seminary. Eleasa will be one of our MCs at Oxygen. This will be her first Oxygen Conference and she is excited and privileged to be able to attend and serve in this way. 

Oxygen Workshops

Oxygen will also feature a range of optional workshops which focus on the heart requirements of life in ministry. These workshops will help you to understand the inner and outer challenges of ministry, as well as provide practical learnings to renew and revive your passion for the work God has called you to do.  

Meet the women leading our inspiring workshops:  

Valerie Ling

Valerie is the founder of the Centre for Effective Serving, as well as the Clinical Director and founder of the Centre for Effective Living, a group psychology practice dedicated to clinical excellence in mental health. As a ministry wife herself, Valerie has a particular passion to support gospel workers. Her workshop “Moving from a Reactive to Reflective Ministry: Leadership and Ministry Longevity in a Hectic and Troubled World” will be focused on helping ministry workers to manage burnout.  

Kerrell Ranucci

Kerrell together with her husband Andrew, spent almost three decades planting a church, a school and pioneering ministries to reach the lost and disciple them to Jesus. Kerrell is passionate about soul care, facilitating spiritual retreats, and walking with pastors to support them to develop a deep personal devotional life. Her workshop “Cultivating Our Life with God” will help delegates explore the role of spiritual practices in helping them to experience the presence of God in daily life.  

Susan Marcuccio

Susan is the National Supervision Director for Chaplaincy Australia and President of Australasian Association of Supervision. Susan is passionate about all those in the helping professions being able to access quality and confidential support and engage in transformational learning. Her workshop “Pastoral Supervision: Protecting Your Heart to Go the Distance in Ministry” will explain how pastoral supervision can enhance ministry, ignite passion, and protect your heart.

Rachael Litchfield 

Rachael has been involved in cross-cultural mission work in Thailand, Cambodia and Australia for the last 30 years serving in physiotherapy, community health, leadership and pastoral care roles. In 2020 she completed a doctor of ministry dissertation titled “A Spirituality for Transition Grief”. Her workshop “Spiritual Practices for the Grief of Transitions” will help delegates strengthen their capacity to craft meaning and move deeper into our life with God during unsettling transitions.

Miriam Chan 

Miriam Chan is an accredited mental health social worker, counsellor and supervisor. Miriam currently works as a counsellor at an Australian University and in private practice in Burwood at New Leaf Centre. Miriam’s workshop “Mental Health and Ministry” will explore a Biblical overview of mental and emotional wellbeing and explore practical ideas on how to best serve Jesus when we are feeling unstable. 

Kathy Thurston 

Five and a half years ago Dave and Kathy Thurston left Sydney and parish ministry to work in the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. Their brief was mentoring pastors and their wives, training other to be mentors, develop a post college training program as well as various other ventures. They now live in Blackheath on two acres where God willing they will build a Christian Retreat centre. Together with her husband, Kathy will lead a workshop titled “The Importance of Emotional Self Awareness for Healthy Ministry”.  

To see the full list of local and international Oxygen speakers, click here: 

Is it Time to Hit Pause at Oxygen?

Our recent Oxygen Christian Workers Survey revealed alarming levels of job dissatisfaction, loneliness, and mental health issues amongst Christain workers in Australia.  

In comparison to men, women were more likely to be experiencing or suspecting a mental health issue – 40 per cent compared to 25 per cent. In speaking of mental well-being, an Anglican Women’s Minister serving in a capital city says:   

“I think about burnout and wonder if I am already there and what to do about it. It is hard to find the energy to invest in people but my love for the Lord and his people continues. I often wonder if I am the right person for my job, which is not a question I had 5 years ago.” 

This is why Oxygen exists—to give ministry workers a space to reflect, think, pray and recharge under God’s Word.  

If you’re a woman in Christian ministry, we invite you to pause with us this 15-18 August at Oxygen. Learn more here: 

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